Posts Tagged ‘PTFE’

One of the few PTFE applications that brings in the DIY community consistantly to a plastics distributor is the application using sheet material cut into discs as mountings for telescopes. PTFE is the third slickest solid known to man and works well as a sliding surface. It does have very low load-bearing capabilities and is subject to “creep” (dimensional changes at rest) and also cannot handle much wear at all. In short, there are only specific instances the material makes sense – especially due to its high cost compared to most other plastics used in DIY applications.

We recently came across a blog posting from an amateur astronomer (“Chris B.”) chronicling his progress in making telescope mountings from PTFE. He gives some pretty handy tips such as how to cut the material precisely into the desired disc and to keep it from moving around. We don’t really have experience in this area so it’s probably best to let Chris’ work speak for itself. You can find the blog here: https://fullerscopes.blogspot.ca/2016/08/2-shaft-mouting-pt28-ptfe-clutch.html

As summer comes to a close so does an experiment we ran at our Vancouver branch. While we try to minimize our offcuts, so as to reduce the amount of wasted material we create, we are still left with little bits here and there. Throughout the years our Marketing department, who handle our online inquiries, has noticed a number of customers asking about small pieces – which are apparently very difficult to find. We had the idea of taking stock of some offcuts and seeing if anyone would be interested in some small bits…Turns out they were!

Some projects we had come across our desks:

-PTFE base for a home telescope

-Phenolic saw guides

-“Wheel-less” dynamic surface for a sliding wardrobe door

-Acrylic table surfaces (quite a few of these)

-Polycarbonate for boat hatches

What did we learn? A lot. It was a great learning experience for ourselves and the customers. On the positive side we learned how creative the public can be with industrial plastics, particularly with the telescope and wardrobe that used UHMW strips as an ultra-low friction sliding surface. Also, it was interesting on how large of size “offcuts” were requested of us – often approaching 3/4 of a full sheet. Certainly there was no shortage of desire for industrial plastics and for so many different applications. It was refreshing to work on something new.

Unfortunately, those larger offcuts seemed to come in at prices that disappointed some customers, despite special pricing. Industrial plastics are an excellent material but they are not cheap like everyday consumer plastics. The larger offcut sizes in particular meant some disappointed customers could only be quoted on full sheet for their application at the regular price.

However, overall it was an interesting experiment and one we’ll continue to run as we gather more information on how to increase the footprint of industrial plastics.

Machining PTFE

Posted: April 26, 2013 in machining, PTFE
Tags: , , ,

The flouropolymer PTFE (polytetraflouroethylene) AKA “Teflon” is one of the most popular engineering plastics. Considered a bridge plastic to the “High-Performance” plastics it is one of the best plastics readily available for everyday use. PTFE has a number of advantages, including being one of the slickest solids known to us, but it is also very soft and has poor impact resistance. We highly recommend you do your research before selecting it as a material and learn how to work with the material. Mistakes can be costly, as PTFE is one of the most expensive plastics available.

This short video does not provide specific technical assistance but the person hosting the video does a quick rundown on the beneficial properties of the material and he quickly lathes a bearing showing a little of how the material is worked with. We also have a machinist chart which includes PTFE located here.

 

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